Surely more than one would the protagonist or responsible for all this sounds, is called George Hotz – anyone remember him for Geohot – and was responsible for disturbing Sony and PlayStation 3 with its reverse engineer, also to get unlock iPhone, allowing you to use different operators in a telephone factory not allowed. He ended up leaving all these games to get to work on technology for autonomous cars.
Work so seriously that we are about to meet her first real and affordable fruit, leaving the startup that created for the occasion, Comma.ai. It has been a year since we met from their work and everything seems to have moved very fast to put on the market Comma One, a “kit” that becomes “autonomous cars” vehicles that are not.
We are mainly a green box that replaces the rear – view mirror of the vehicle; we note that there is to be an engineer to install it. Although not given specifics on technology and hardware, we can summarize that the power of your system resides on the camera and machine learning algorithms.
In its release, the kit works only with some models Honda and Acura – brand – who have been in itself a lane assist system and the technology needed to move the car. Comma One thing it does is add the information he collects and combines with radar / lidar and cameras that these vehicles already have.
In the end what we found is a system for driving assistance, very similar to what Tesla offers its Autopilot , obviously the streets are not prepared to go forward autonomous cars circulating at will and risk. Hotz promises that you can go from Mountain View to San Francisco without touching anything, that is about 70 kilometers on a fairly busy highway.
On the comparison between platforms established in the title, is not something I imagined, Hotz loose in his interview in Forbes, letting us understand that Tesla will move on their own in this, and they want to propose a different way and more open so people can access the same level of functionality.
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The secret in the chamber, the brain is Nvidia
For those who had doubts about the brain One Comma process, again it is Nvidiawhich sneaks into a car that wants to be smart. The processing power is much needed in this system and that the secrecy or the difference with others is in the camera work: while the real competition is based mainly on radar and lidar systems, we analyze what happens out there with images Of video.
How much does all this cost? Hotz because it will offer for $ 999, plus an additional monthly payment of $ 24, for having the most important day system, which is software. Comma One will be a reality by the end of year in the United States. Over the months they will be announced more compatible cars.
A startup in a world of giants
In business there are much bigger companies Comma.ai developing the same idea at different levels, we cannot ignore to Tesla, Google, Ford or Nvidia, trucks Otto, or people Drive.ai. Not to mention alliances seeking big manufacturers like BMW, who recently moved tab next to Intel and Mobileye.
As expected the system is accompanied by a lot of criticism – from competitors Mobileye – or skepticism, but they will begin to walk with kits fairly limited. Hotz believes that present the product as an added point will give them attractive : there are many people already have cars with the necessary technology, and not have to wait for a superproyecto autonomous car.